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Debt reduction proposal; debt debate News/Business. (2011) Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). New.

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Us 11, Coburn 10, Washington 10, Pentagon 2, Grover Norquist 1, Grover 1, Peter Shelkin 1, Kevin Mccarthy 1, Tom Coburn 1, Norquist 1, Unstifle 1, Atic 1, Un 1, Nasa 1, Steve 1, Grove Norquist 1, Miscon Trude 1, Oklahoma 1, California 1, Israel 1,
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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    Debt reduction proposal; debt debate   
   News/Business.  (2011) Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). New.  

    July 22, 2011
    7:45 - 8:30am EDT  

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internet. look for the line-up on booktv. "washington journal" continues. host: we are pleased to have senator tom coburn back at the table. he's joined the so-called gang of six in the senate which he left earlier, and also announced a $9 trillion debt scheme atic. we'll be talking about this and more. senator, headlines suggest that if there is a deal being crafted between the speaker and the between the speaker and the senate that your democratic colleagues in the senate are angry about being excluded from it. people are watching this mere yad of discussions. how do people understand where things are right now? guest: i don't really understand
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where they are. if they have negotiated something they agreed to, why would they complain? it is the whole washington silliness of complaining because you don't know what's going on. nobody knows what's going on except the principals in the room, and when they come to something they file feel they can build a case for on both sides, they will put it out there. i was a part of the gang of six discussion. the idea is to get us moving. they should be listening. maybe they need to offer something themselves. that's been the problem. we haven't had any offers. we have seen the republicans offering multiple things. we have a bill on the senate they are going to table that actually fixes the problem, raises the debt limit, and they
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don't want to vote on it, so we're going to table it. so i think it is all political posturing. host: you know frequently this town works to the brink. is there anything different about this time? do you think a deal will be done? guest: i certainly hope so. the root for us, as every american, is if we don't get a deal done, i think it will cost us a half of one percent. even if we got a deal done 10 days later, i think it costs us a half of one percent. that's $75 billion a year in terms of the damage to our credit. increased interest cost. i think another thing we need to do -- you have to ask what the problem is. the problem isn't the negotiation between the republicans and democrats, it is not between the president and the speaker. the problem is for us to maintain our debt rating we have
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to have a program that cuts about $4 trillion at a minimum about $4 trillion at a minimum over the next 10 years. every interest interest grurengs i was listening to your calls beforehand. every interest group says they don't want to get touched. the fact is every interest group will be get touched. everybody that's comfortable with their benefit is going to be a little less comfortable if we're all as a country going to get out of this. host: we had a number of callers saying congress should cut its own salary. i have a washington post article saying coburn should leave by example. what are you offering? >> cut our salary by 15%. actually, there wouldn't be anything wrong with cutting our salaries until we decrease the
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budget deficit. cut our expepses back 15%. we cut them back 5% this yeamplet in other words make us have to do some of the hard -- i mean, our budgets are ludicrous. i trim back $600,000 every year. >> you are allocated money -- >> that i don't need. what you have to ask is, if i can do that, can't everybody? that's 20% of my budget. host: your 900 trillion plan, where is it going to go? >> it ising going to go anywhere now. no one is looking at it. this is the first time they have researched what gao has said what the congressional research has said, what the individual inspector generals have said, what o.m.b. has said, plus we what o.m.b. has said, plus we have done our own research and
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said, gosh, given all these facts, common sense would say you do this. so there are 3,000 references in there to studies on our recommendations that we've made. and so i hope it becomes a place where people go to find out information about what we can cut. we could have done more. england just recently said you could recently cut 14% out of the pentagon. his assessment is that you could cut 14% of the civilian payroll out of the peg -- pentagon. that's $150 million over 10 years. that's a lot of money. host: what do you say about this being a naive cut? guest: washington doesn't cut because washington cares more about being re-elected than they do about the public. it comes from a lack of courage to stand up and do the best
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right thing for our country. when you are threw up -- through up here and you get out and the country is belly up r. you say, well i believe careerism is killing us. term limits and a balanced budget amendment, term limits and a balanced budget amendment would fix everything that's wrong with washington. wrong with washington. host: you answer this twitter questioner, which says, "would you vote for the house balanced budget in a recession?" guest: yes, because it will take a period of time for that to move through the states. we have to be careful how fast we cut, but we need to cut and we need to cut quickly.
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otherwise we're between two lanes. if we don't cut quickly enough, we're going to have the amount we cut in offset with increased interest costs. if we cut too fast, i mean, we can cut fast, but if we cut too fast, we'll have a negative impact on our economic growth. so we have to go down that line. that's why $4 trillion is a minimum. host: in the wall street journal this morning, his name is peter shelkin, he is a co-editor of understanding america, the anatomy of an exceptional nation. second year at law school. he one paragraph. "i can think of no other law that would alo judges to exercise more budget-making decision than a balanceed budget amendment. even if the courts simply did
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their job and did not grasp for that power." guest: we have a judge sitting on the bench today that should be impeached. the fact is you will never control washington with today's politicians until you put a bridle and a bit in their mouth that says you can't spend money you don't have. it won't hatch l happen. -- it won't happen. host: one more column. grover nor quift has a piece where he is explaining his position on taxes. "read my lips, no new taxes. why republicans should not relent." he was on our program and talking about you specifically. we want to replay that quote. >> the difference of opinions
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between coburn and americans for tax reform, between coburn and the 225 members that signed the pledge is we are for tax reform but not for tax increases, and coburn vote forward a $2 trillion tax increase when he endorsed obama's deficit plan. all three members of the republicans in the gang of six not only took the pledge not to raise taxes but then wrote me a letter saying, look, we are not going to raise taxes. we just want economic growth. i'm for that. coburn has publicly said in the past that he likes tax increases. that passed him by. the republican leadership in the house made it clear that if coburn continues to be for tax increases, he's on his lonesome on that and no one else has joined him. host: senator coburn? guest: i think he represents the
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silliness of our political system today. i don't want to raise taxes. i think it is terrible that we would have to raise more taxes. but if we're going to get in agreement in washington to fix our problems when those of us don't want to raise taxes control the house of representatives, don't control the senate, don't control the white house, it is pretty stupid and naive to think you are going to win that battle. i would rather fix our country and lose a battle with grover norquist then send our country norquist then send our country down the tubes and raise a point of view that is suicide. the fact is, in is a lot of way to enhance the federal government. reforming the tax code is a great way to do it. we have to get $4 trillion. that doesn't go away no matter what anybody says. the president didn't have a deficit plan.
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the president's commission had a deficit plan. he never enbraced it. you see the games played with the numbers, which aren't accurate. realistic things. plus, revenues are at the lowest point. we're at 15.8%. revenues are as a percentage of g.d.p. i think there are tons of tax credits and things in the tax credits and things in the tax codes that are unfair that we ought to eliminate. anybody that gets something out of the tax code today in terms of the tax credit and the tax spend tour, you are paying for it if you didn't get one. it is a matter of shifting costs around. if you don't have a special deal on the tax code that you can take advantage of, you can actually pay more taxes.
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host: here is part of the plan, reduce the deficit $9 trillion over 10 years. reduce medicaid and medicare spending by $2.6 billion. eliminate $1 trillion in tax breaks. that is part of senator coburn's plan. the "gang of six "budget's plan is to reduce the deficit $4 trillion over 10 years, overhaul the tax code $1 trillion, immediate spending cuts of $500 billion. caller: i appreciate what you are saying, but i think the whole problem of everything that we're going through in this country right now has to come down to one simple thing. and that is separate ralte racial of powers. now, a lot of people get this miscon trude with oh, you mean
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separation of church and state. no. well, yes and no. in their derrick the church was the big power. kings and queens could not move without the permission of the church. nowadays it is big business. when you have big business influence washington, d.c., people like yourself, this is what you are going to get. you cannot have foxes guarding the hen house. host: all right. your response. guest: if you talk about specific tax credits, i think he's right. i don't think it is just big business. i think it is the aarp, i think it is the big labor unions. i think it is everybody. the whole fact is the federal the whole fact is the federal government is too big and it is in areas it shouldn't be. if you read the constitution, you also read the enumerated powers which gives limited powers to the federal government and specifically states
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everything not listed here is reserved for the people in the states. the reason we have a $3.6 trillion, $3.7 trillion budget, is a trillion and a half of that or more is stuff that's not our responsibility in the first place. sho look, i'm one of the few republicans that stands up and says i think we need to eliminate some of these tax loopholes, but i think we need to do it in a way that doesn't grow the government. host: here's a comment from kevin mccarthy. he writes "projected entitle ments are between 25 and 50 billion. why are we not more focused on cutting this spending instead by fixing the current epidemic of illegal immigrants in the u.s.?" guest: that's a good question. we are at the point where there
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ought to be nothing that we are not doing. we ought to be looking at everything. this spring i spent three days all across arizona where the vast majority of our problems are. that is not an unfixable problem. the problem is, we're not getting straight answers from the department of homeland security. we're not completing what we know will work. we're not training new border patrol agents to be as effective as they can because they don't have the language skills. we put them out there without the language skills. they are right. the senate hasn't done anything this year because the leader of the senate doesn't want to take his votes. his votes. there's an election coming up in
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18 months. that's crazy. we haven't had a budget in 2 1/2 years. the reason we haven't had a budget is they don't want their member to cast a vote that might be cast in a way that might hurt them in election. host: another caller. caller: i wish you would add eye -- i wish you would add "investors' business daily" to your list of newspapers. host: ok. caller: i promise if they drafted you, you woo get at least one vote from connecticut.
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we would have to have a balanced budget amendment. you mail in a balance each year. as the government came out with this number, people would be aware if the government was going to cost them more money or less money each year. i thought that was a reasonable way to approach this. i would be interested in your answer off the air. thank you.
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guest: you're welcome. it is a novel idea. i'm not sure i want the government to tell us what the tax rate would be every year, but it certainly would get us even gauged. you are talking about a modified flat tax for everybody. i think we ought to go on and do the national sales tax where -- host: in lieu of income tax? guest: yes. it is embedded into our income tax system and the products we export in this country and make us super competitive around the world, it would re-enhance manufacturing in this country, because it would offset, the taxes would be taken out of the products that we produce. it would be a great way for us to actually grow our economy.
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it is simple. people say they barter. we have $300 billion a year. people don't report income taxes. everybody would know what it costs. if you delegate to the states, it will be done more efficiently it will be done more efficiently and economically. host: an example? guest: education. we have spent $2.6 trillion since the department of education has been open. we have bureaucrats in washington telling teachers and administrators in oklahoma how to take care of kids, what to do for kids who have no concern
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whatsoever on them, and when you look at the metrics, susan, of the success of our educational system, there is not one parameter that's better. so why not take that money and just send it to the states and just send it to the states and let the states do what they do better than what we do. what we have done, we have lost our educational advantage, and it needs to be returned to the states. we can do that in the $9 april april. host: there is a question, if it host: there is a question, if it is that promising, senator co
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burn, why isn't there a bill? guest: there is a bill. they won't let it get to the floor. caller: i watch you on the senate floor all the time. senate floor all the time. i wish you would consider running for president. we need you. you are probably one of the most honest men in our government. i wish you could consider one suggestion. i would like to see a bill past that there wouldn't be any campaigning until -- you couldn't possibly raise the money with us, and that would make it a lot better for our election system.
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thank you so much and please consider, please consider running. we would all vote for you. thank you. guest: the presidential race is 16, 18 months away. it is causing us not to focus on the problems at hand, and we are seeing people make decisions based on a re-election 16, 17 months from now. that's why i believe in term limits. i believe if we had term limits
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for the members of congress, you wouldn't see as much foolishness. people wouldn't be trying to gain advantage partisan wise. they are -- we have seen a difference in how things work. the angst would be less. people would be coming here to get something done before they come home. host: the next caller is from san antonio. this is mike. you are on for the senator. .
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guest: think about that. you cut $9 trillion and it is still bigger than it was in 2001. we implies a 3.5% growth in the size of government. size of government. we can't afford it. we don't have an economy that can afford it. we can't afford the inefficiencies that come from that sizable government. it's hurting us. host: next caller.
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caller: senator coburn i would like to thank you for taking on grove norquist. i think there is something treasonist about making someone take a pledge above and beyond what they take in the oath of office. my concern is, while i believe we have a spending problem, we also have a revenue problem. that comes from an understanding of who owes whom what. the operating budget owns trust funds to, for example, the social security trust fund, $2.6 trillion. some people say, well, that's an illusion. but the funds collected were not an illusion. it only became an i illusion when it was put into the unified budget and was moved to pay for expenses. so if tax funds are an illusion,
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congress is the ma jigs. we need to repay that money. that is it why there is a revenue issue. while i think there is spending cuts, i do think an honest budget which will require you all to destroy the unified all to destroy the unified budget and then require individual balanced budgets for the operating budget, for the trust fund, but only after the operating budget has returned the i.o.u.'s to social security and to medicare. i believe there are 110 of those trust funds. smaller ones that are paid for by fees. please destroy the unified budget. thank you very much. and thank you for what you are doing. i think you are honorable. i just disagree with the way you are doing it. guest: i think she's dead on. there are 120 trust funds we've stolen the money from and spent
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somewhere else. you hear social security doesn't need to be reformed. the reason it needs to be reformed is because it isn't sustainable. we can't ever borrow the money in the markets because congress has stolen that money and spent it. we have to borrow against it. what we have to do is reform it so we have to borrow from those and make it sustainable. i think she is right. they use it to run that money. so she didn't have a tax increase for it. ever since, we have been dishonest about the american people about the true cost of things and implied that we can afford to do things that we really can't.
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host: what are the main areas that contributed to the government. guest: every year the federal government has grown, the defense department, it is out of control. in terms of its purchasing of weapons systems. no one is spending money and how. there is a gray area of generalized government in all sorts of government. just wait. it is going to be about 45% of anybody that has real health insurance through their employer.
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we can find each agency and how it has grown. nasa, even though we don't have a manned space flight going on now after the shuttle without going through the russians, yet their -- not on getting anyone into space. i would make this point, susan. we -- host: there is an extreme
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spending gap between the wealthy earnings and the stale wages of everyone else. guest: what are you going to do? right now, do you want the country to grow? we would tax those people that have the capital that are going to create the jobs in this country and give it to the government rather than decrease government spending and allow that money that they were going to tax to go into productive jobs? the reason you have $3 trillion sitting on the sidelines in businesses not being -- if you take all this money, we would still have about a $700 billion. let's take everybody's money, all of it that makes $250,000.
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that doesn't solve our problem. it doesn't come close to solving our problem. it is a pipe dream. we have to be careful. the thing that built this country is the hope that people can get ahead, that can make it to a plateau. if you start saying, we're going to punish you for going there, there is not going to be jobs created, and we will continue to export all our jobs. host: next caller is tiffany, republican in rancho, coucamunga, california. caller: i just wanted to say that i support some of your ideals, however as a middle class person, it is difficult for me to support you as far as your tax increases not being the 35 or 39% that they are supposed to because everybody else is hurting. i look at my budget, and i say, i really can't afford to give
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anymore. my salary is not in -- increasing. if your plan keeps your belly fat and i'm starving over here. i think we need to do a little something a little more balanced. thank you for taking my call. guest:: we need to lower rates ultimately to we get more money invested in the economy, and that will be $150 billion in revenue to the federal government and economic growth. when i say to you that the government is twice the size it was 10 years ago, you have to
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ask a question, is the problem revenue or is the problem been able to get out of control? the government has no business being in the business it is in. we have 180 programs for economic development that comes to the economic development of the states. there is area upon area where our hearts are big, great intentions, but the fact is, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. the very mistake would be, if we don't cut the $7 trillion or $8 trillion in my plan and you don't raise taxes, we are toast. we won't ever reverse it.
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we have more of a means testing on the upper hand. as you increase the taxes on social security, social security benefits. they have to pay them back out. we totally revamp the disability program. we're in the midst -- the senate we're in the midst -- the senate committee is totally investigating the i.r.s. on their disability program. whether it is a judge that had a
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99% approval rating but did 72% of cases for two lawyers in virginia. that's going on across the country. social security administration is part of disability. 1-18 people in this country is collecting a disability check. i can tell you that 1-18 people in this country are not disabled. i can give you personal experiences. people have to look around. what happened to them? the law says if there is any job you can do in the economy, you are not disabled. yet we have had a system, the sts social security -- the social security system implies you are disabled and we have to prove you are not. it needs to be the other way. we have undermined self-reliance in this country. in this country. now we hear people who can't do it. we can't because i'm not -- we
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have families with 14 members that are collecting social security checks on each? i mean, it is out of control. if someone is truly disabled, i want to make sure we're here to help them. but i am planning on coming at you if you are stealing from the system. .
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guest: we have the same group. it has been un-- it has been stifled, and we need to unstifle it. host: senator coburn, thank you
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for being here. thank you senator. certainly the discussions will continue. guest: thank you. host: we'll take a quick break, and our final guest this morning will be governor steve israel from new york. we will be discussing this debate. .
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